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Here Are 12 Ideas For Places to Spend the Upcoming Holidays

Revisiting a dozen great places SmSh has been over the years.
Last updated: 2019-09-03

Fall is holiday season. First we get a three-day weekend for the Mid-Autumn (September 13-15 this year) and then, as the month ends, we have the weeklong National Holiday. Shanghai is a great place to be during the holidays, if you avoid the crush of tourists at the Bund, but, hey, so are a lot of other places. In case you missed it, we’ve been traveling quite a bit over the years and have a dozen suggestions about where else you might want to be this holiday.


Just last month, SmSh spent a week in the former hill station and missionary hideaway, tromping through bamboo forests and sussing out the reservoirs, hotels and things to do that define Moganshan in 2019. If you like hiking in the bamboo forests, cycling and mountain biking, doing nothing (and soaking in the infinity pool), eating countryside chicken soup and kayaking in reservoirs, this is for you. Read the full article here.

The Natural Wonders of Jeju Island

In June, we went adventuring around South Korea’s “Hawaii”, a quick flight from Shanghai. Jeju is a theater of war that has been hosting battles between nature and the elements for millions of years. Away from Jeju City in the north, Seogwipo in the south, and the copious amounts of tacky museums and golf courses, large areas of the island are wild and untamed. We went from waterfalls to coasts strewn with black basalt rocks to the Jusangjeolli Cliffs, formed the same way as Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland was made, and ended on the idyllic Gwakji Beach. Read the full article here.

Trip Around Anhui

A couple years back we rented a car and toured the minus hotel of southern Anhui for a week. The result was this article, a trip through old Huizhou and the beautiful merchant buildings not so far away from Yellow Mountain. Any of these places are a great option for a week, but especially The Pig’s Inn in Bishan, if their rooms aren’t already booked up. Read the full article here.

Hiking All Over The Place

We like to hike, and we’ve found some good places to do it. The best is perhaps the first national hiking route in China, which is 500km of trails through the Zhejiang mountains. But there is also the ancient Shang-Qing trail outside of Shaoxing where you follow in the footsteps of long-gone merchant caravans over a million billion ancient stairs. Father afield, there’s the sacred mountain of Wutaishan, where you eat with monks and hike with Buddhist pilgrims. And then, more gentle, the rolling hills of Longjing in Hangzhou, the absolute heart of eastern China’s green tea culture.

The Birds

Yes, Shanghai has wildlife. Mostly birds but a tremendous amount and variety of them, as we found out on a trip to the Nanhui wetlands with bird photographer Kai Pflug. It really does not feel like Shanghai out here. Unfortunately plans are being discussed that would have negative effects on the eco-system out here — plans to plant trees and get the forestation rate up — so if you want to see what the area looks like in its current state, it would make a good weekend trip.

If that’s too depressing, there’s much better bird-related news to the west of Shanghai. In Chishan, a civic-minded businessman spent more than a decade restoring cypress wetlands and eventually turning it into the private Chishan Lake National Wetland Park. It’s now the largest pond cypress forest in eastern China and the birds have returned. Read the full article here.

The “Abandoned” Island Village

Last year, a small SmSh team went out to Shengshan to see the famed “abandoned village”. As the story goes, a fishing community was relocated and when the residents left their homes, the local foliage took them over. It’s quite a sight, and big media like BBC and National Geographic have photographed it, even if it’s not quite as “abandoned” as people make it out to be. But if you want the smell of the sea and some killer photos for your social media, then get on the boat. Read the full article here.

Get Scuba Certified in the Philippines

This one requires a bit more advance planning, but it’s only the beginning of September, and if you hustle, there’s time to make this happen. We went to see Scandi Divers which offers both PADI and NAUI certification in 3-4 days. Open water certification was less than 3,000rmb. It’s the best way to get out there with the reef fish, the sea turtles and the coral fans in their natural environment, and it’s a skill you can use on other holidays as well. Read the full article here.

Ancient Architecture, Amazing Hotel in Jiangxi

Ed Gawne wasn’t yet 30 when he quit Shanghai. He had a boring corporate job and bad Chinese, and decided he’d follow his girlfriend back to Jiangxi for a while to go back to school. The problem came when the year was up and it was time to go back to the big city. He didn’t want to. He and Selina delayed by touring the province, where she was born and raised. Around Wuyuan, a collection of small villages that used to be part of the rich merchant area of Huizhou, they came across some bed-and-breakfasts in ancient houses. They thought they could do it better.

So they did.

They bought a decrepit 300-year-old courtyard house full of beautiful woodcarvings, brought in architects anySCALE Beijing, the local woodworkers and traditional construction teams, and re-did it. What started life as a business inn for a merchant then, at one point, became home to a wealthy spinster who took in orphans in the early 1900s, and eventually ended up as the work office for the commune in the village.

It’s now known as Wuyuan Skywells, a 14-room hotel, and they just celebrated their second anniversary. Go get some countryside hospitality for the weekend. Read the full article here.

Go to Suzhou for Incredible Noodles

Suzhou’s noodles are serious. They are better than Shanghai’s noodles by a long way, and are famous throughout the country. This is an easy trip that we make often (just did it again over the weekend), as all three of the shops are on located on one street. Start at Yu Mian Zhai, the expensive one, and then work your way down through Yu Xing Ji and end at Tong De Xing for the fengzhen mian with a big slab of melting pork belly (you’ll only be able to drink the broth at this point, after so many other noodles, but that’s just fine). Read the full article here.

Looking for more ideas? Click here for SmSh's dedicated Outbound page.